A record year for charitable contributions in the Big Sky Events Arena
By Leslie Kilgore EBS CONTRIBUTOR
BIG SKY – Big Sky’s Biggest Week and PBR was a week full of energy and excitement once again with many memorable highlights. Along with three nights of professional bull riding, in which we saw rookies rise to fame and some of the world’s best bulls buck, several of the week’s events held charity close to heart, donating to several local nonprofits and rodeo-related organizations.
With a grand total of $292,106 raised for local organizations, it was one of the most successful fundraising years in Big Sky PBR’s history.
“I’m honored that Outlaw Partners is able to give back to so many outstanding and influential organizations while also providing the Big Sky community and visitors with such an incredible event year after year,” Eric Ladd, chairman and CEO of Outlaw Partners said. “Being awarded the PBR Event of the Year for the ninth year in a row is an incredible attribute to what Big Sky PBR brings to our community, and that includes our charitable ethos.”
PBR’s 50/50 raffle and wildly popular Calcutta brought in a total of $170,900 for the Montana Civil Air Patrol, Western Sports Foundation, Make-A-Wish foundation, Montana State University Athletics and the MSU Rodeo Team, Big Sky Search & Rescue and Big Sky Bravery. Big Sky Bravery’s contributions included a live auction of a commemorative flag and call sign patches for $20,000. The pieces were presented and worn in combat by Officer Marshall, a participant and volunteer for the nonprofit that has helped him and other active duty Special Operations Forces.
“What we do at Big Sky Bravery is bring out guys … and gals, give them a week of relaxation, time to look back and get a new perspective and I can tell you it’s incredibly powerful,” Officer Marshall said during the event on July 22. “It’s a very healing opportunity for guys and gals.”
Prior to PBR, the Big Sky PBR Golf Tournament took place at Black Bull Golf Course in Bozeman and raised funds for the Western Sports Foundation, which provides health and wellness support for athletes competing in Western sports, including bull riding. The 3rd Annual Dick Allgood Community Bingo Night raised over $40,000 dollars for Big Sky nonprofit Wellness in Action and the American Legion.
While the Big Sky PBR provides plenty of entertainment for Big Sky residents and visitors, it also plays an important role in educating more community members about rodeo and western sports culture.
“These funds give us the ability to reach more athletes at any level of competition and help set them up for success both in and out of the arena,” said WSF Executive Director, Aubrey O’Quin.“We are honored to be one of the nonprofits who benefited from the event in Big Sky and to be able to share our mission with individuals who love the Western Heritage and cowboy way.”
As the event continues to grow and gain recognition within Big Sky and the Western sports world, Ladd said he and his team at Outlaw are committed to fundraising opportunities as a core aspect of the week.
“It’s always rewarding to see so many community members come out to support the bull riders, but also donating to important causes that continue to help our community thrive,” he said.